(two questions in the same entry, conveniently enough)
hi dave i took my ipod to school and some kid opend my backpack and stole it. I was wondering if you can get a new one at the store you bought it at if ur under the year they give you once you buy it in case something happends to it. thanx
Q: Someone stole my Sony PSP and I’m so frustrated! It took me a year to save up enough money to buy it. Totally sucks! Can I get a replacement from Sony or Best Buy, or can you send me one?
While it sounds nice to envision a world where vendors replace stolen products simply because you tell them it’s gone, the reality is that no company would stay in business very long. It wouldn’t even be the people trying to rip them off that’d be the problem, but the fact that if they replaced stolen products they’d also have to replace damaged and broken ones and suddenly your $199 product needs to cover not only the cost of goods and marketing, but the cost of 2-3 additional units across the typical customer lifetime.
The long and short of it is that we’d have a world with $799 Sony Playstation Portables and $599 iPod Nano devices, if the companies could stay in business at all.
So the unfortunate reality is that if you get something stolen, particular a small consumer electronics device like an iPod, Zune, Gameboy or Sony PSP, it’s next to impossible to track it down or prove that one you believe is yours actually was the one you’d previously owned.
There are serial numbers on most of these devices, but it’s unlikely that a gizmo owner is going to let you compare serial numbers nor would it make sense: how many kids are at your school? How many friends do they have? How many friends do those friends have? In the matter of an afternoon your iPod or PSP could be across the city in the hands of someone you’ll never encounter.
Further, extended service warranties are mostly a benefit for the company that sells it to you and it’s not uncommon to find that it doesn’t cover anywhere near as much as you were lead to believe when you bought it. And none of them cover theft because it’s so darn hard to prove that you really did have it stolen while you were at school, church, on the bus, whatever.
I think that there are two solutions, the most obvious being: don’t bring fancy electronic gadgets to school. The temptation is too great for other children who are jealous of your possessions, coupled with the knowledge that they’re quite likely to get away with the theft of a commodity item.
If you must take it to school, use a pen, paints, stickers, whatever, to make it visually different, ideally glaringly different, from all the other similar devices your friends and classmates may have. If your PSP is the one painted bright blue with black skull and cross-bone stickers all over it, it’s far less likely to be stolen, and if it is stolen and you happen to see it, it’ll be immediately recognizable too.
Really, though, if you’ve saved up for an entire year to buy your consumer electronics treasure, does it really make sense to drag it to school every day and tempt your classmates? In an ideal world it wouldn’t matter, but in this world, well, a dose of pragmatism can go a long way to avoiding this sort of problem in the future.